really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,549 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #119

Jul 162012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 59,600 miles


Upon starting the car one morning I noticed the speedometer, fuel and gear indicator digital readouts were not working. I researched the problem on the internet and narrowed the problem to a faulty combination meter (bad solder). This problem has been occurring with numerous other Prius owners according to forums and such. I purchased the car at a Ford dealership and also purchased their Ford esp base care plan. Clearly the plan stated the speedometer/odometer, electrical or mechanical problems were covered. However the agent at the extended warranty office denied the claim. So my car sits at a Toyota dealership with the dash apart and the appraised value of the car less $2000 according to the sales dept. Because the mileage is unknown. Toyota has yet to declare a recall for the problem which could result in death in some cases if not properly addressed. I have two children and value their lives. I hope and pray that Toyota comes around.

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #118

Jul 162012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
The headlights go out randomly while driving at night. You have to turn them off and then turn them back on for them to work and they only last a minute after that. Huge safety issue!!

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #117

Mar 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
I need your help! there is a manufacturing defect well documented as a common problem with 2004 Toyota Prius multi-functional display (mfd). The problem is that the 60 pin connector on the printed circuit board of the mfd sometimes develops a play in the connection and hence the sporadic display. I wrote to Toyota customer service. Toyota instructed me to take my car to the dealer and speak to Toyota. Told me that he did talk to the Toyota rep and explained to him that I had been taking very good care of my car and that this mfd problem was not my doing. Told me that it would cost $980.57 to install a remanufactured mfd. And that the Toyota rep is only going to contribute $250. So net out of pocket for me would be a substantial amount of $730.57. It is unfair for Toyota customer service to ask me to pay, since this is a common problem with 2004 Toyota Prius mfds that is well documented to be a common problem. I have already spent a lot of time and money on the problem. Toyota customer service is taking the approach that it is out of warranty and there is no recall so we donżżT want to do anything. That logic is wrong. If there is a common problem that may have not escalated to a recall status, that does not mean that there is no problem. Recall is if enough people have problems. Meanwhile, you cannot deny for all the people who are stuck with this problem. It has been clearly demonstrated that this is a manufacturing defect that Toyota is responsible. Your high level intervention is needed. Please write to Toyota demanding that it would only be fair since the mfd problem is clearly documented to be a manufacturing defect, that Toyota repair without delay at no cost to the client, since he has already suffered enough. Thanks! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #116

Jun 082012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 171,740 miles


Random failure of lights, began with driver?S side and continues to occur randomly with greater frequency. Passenger side also turns off randomly, though with less frequency. Many occasions, I have had both lights turn off while driving.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #115

Nov 252009

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Left and right headlights failed in November and December of 2009. Headlights were replaced. Left headlight has failed in 2011. I drive 10,000 per year. I do not do much driving with my headlights on.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #114

Feb 012012


  • miles
2004 Toyota Prius. Consumer states unintended acceleration the consumer stated the sudden acceleration happened three times, over a six year span. He managed to put the vehicle in neutral, coast to the side of the road, and turned the vehicle off. Once the vehicle was restarted, all worked fine. The consumer stated a few weeks ago his vehicle was about to reach 300,000 miles, as he reached for his camera, he realized the odometer never went past 299,999 miles. However, within five miles, the vehicle suddenly lost power brakes, the air condition stopped working, the hybrid drive shut off and the fan for the hybrid battery came on, as well as yellow and red lights appeared on the dash. Also, two warning graphics appeared on the navigation screen, one indicating trouble. The consumer pulled over, and shut the engine off. He then restarted the vehicle and everything went back to normal. It appeared that by shutting off the engine and restarting it, caused the main computer reboot. The consumer stated it continued several more times, until he arrived home. The dealer informed the consumer the vehicle was a large computer, and when one component stops working, such as the odometer, other components cease too. The dealer explained an odometer limit was placed on the vehicle by the factory.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #113

Jul 262008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


The hid headlight leveling sensor part# 89408-47010 failed. Big red exclamation on the dash and car won't pass inspection. Toyota says it costs $600 to replace.

- Westford, MA, USA

problem #112

Mar 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
When ambient temperature is cold, sometimes dashboard lights and speedometer do not come on when the car is started. Car runs but with no instrument panel. Sometimes when the car is in this state the car cannot be turned off by pressing the start button. Car can only be turned off by pressing and holding the start button down for several seconds, and even this does not always work. This problem has been getting worse over time. Toyota dealership refuses to investigate the problem, but it is documented in their warranty repair T-sb-0172-09 combination meter intermittent display bulletin. Instead, the dealership tries to sell us a new car!

- Pine Grove, CA, USA

problem #111

Sep 012008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Hid headlights go off intermittently while driving. Headlights can be reset by turning headlight switch to off and back on again. A search of the NHTSA and other websites demonstrate that this same problem is widespread for several year models of Prius autos. The dealer estimates to replace the headlight bulbs is about $1000 per headlight, making this a serious problem because people will seek lower cost remedies which are not safe. Toyota thus far has not officially recognized or attempted to address this issue. Since a total loss of lighting can occur at anytime with serious consequences, a recall should be performed to correct this issue before fatalities occur.

- Sugar Grove, IL, USA

problem #110

Jan 202011


  • miles
The driver's side hid headlight, intermittently, unpredictably and inexplicably shuts off. It will occasionally return to service on its own, but usually requires a cycling of the light's power switch before full function is restored. After which, the length of time before the light shuts off again varies from a few seconds to not at all. After researching this issue, it seems to be a rather systemic problem with the 2004-2009 Prius. Obviously, the situation this condition creates is unsafe at best, can place me personally in an unexpected illegal position - and (should both lights go out together, as some have reported) could quite possibly be life threatening. For the safety of the driving public, I would strongly urge NHTSA to investigate this issue. Toyota must take responsibility for their design flaw, and engineer a resolution to this problem.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #109

Oct 202011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 76,250 miles


The dashboard computer in my 2004 Prius malfunctions. The energy monitor does not show any of the arrows or current gas mileage. I can't access any of the menus: Climate, audio, etc. This means that I can not turn on the defrost heat in the morning when the windshield is frozen. Sometimes the telephone menu is inaccessible. The stereo skips and turns itself off. Within a few minutes of turning on the car, the computer will right itself and start working. But sometimes the computer will spontaneously malfunction in the middle of driving the car. There is no way to tell what causes the malfunctions and there's no way to know when it will happen.

- Durango, CO, USA

problem #108

Aug 102011


  • 246,000 miles
The multifunctional display (mfd) failed following dealer replacement of the 12V battery. The dealer is now recommended $5,000 replacement of the mfd. Mfd failure in the Prius seems to be an increasing event based on on-line chatter on blogs. This appears to be a basic design flaw in the Prius mfd system that causes loss of communication between the radio and climate control systems. It also causes the display to be totally ineffective for display of key hybrid engine performance.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #107

Aug 182011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
Toyota Prius 2004 generation 2, speedometer intermittent display problems. The dashboard lights go off and on very frequently for no reason. No display of speed and fuel gauge and also the odometer.

- Alhambra, CA, USA

problem #106

Dec 162009


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the touch screen module which included the temperature gauge, the fuel gauge, the odometer, etc failed. The vehicle was inspected by the dealer who informed him that the display screen was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure was approximately 120,000.

- Gettysburgh, PA, USA

problem #105

Apr 302010


  • 95,000 miles
Multi function display (mfd) failure in 2004 Prius. This failure it intermittent and causes the radio to turn off, prevents the use of climate/radio controls located in/on the mfd unit, prevents one from knowing whether the battery is charging. The steering wheel controls seem to work for the climate control (though one cannot see the temperature setting) but the audio system is useless without the mfd unit working properly. This is a $3000 (not including labor) repair... and that is for a used refurbished part! totally unacceptable if you ask me. Because this is a known problem impacting thousands of Prius owners, Toyota should be forced to replace these defective units with new units at no cost to the owner.

- Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #104

May 162010


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the headlights would shut off independently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was advised that the headlights would need to be replaced. In addition, the contact stated that the center console on the dashboard failed. The contact called the manufacturer and filed a complaint but no assistance was offered. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 108,000 and the current mileage was approximately 113,000.

- Mcdowell, VA, USA

problem #103

Apr 192010

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2004 Toyota Prius. Consumer asserts that vehicle accident was caused by a computer malfunction the consumer stated prior to the accident, on one occasion, the vehicle bolted and jerked slightly as she stopped the vehicle. When she attempted to take off, the vehicle responded sluggishly and then accelerated quickly. The day of the accident, as the consumer approached the stop sign, the vehicle started bucking and jerking violently. After she pulled off from the stop sign, she crashed into a large SUV. The consumer stated she saw the SUV pass, so she purposely waited so she could make a left turn, but ended causing severe damage to her vehicle.

- Monte Rio, CA, USA

problem #102

Jan 012007


  • 60,000 miles
My multi function display has failed on me for the past three years. This is a very common problem for Toyota Prius owners. This means I have had no navigation, air condition/heating, radio/cd and more due to this defective device. There is no physical damage to the screen, and these screens seem to fail only a few years after manufactured. It appears to be the same exact solder joint breaking in every single case too from what I have read online. I can't justify buying a brand new screen, especially since I have spent so much on this one to begin with.

- Hampshire, IL, USA

problem #101

Jan 242010


  • miles
S10 appropriate handling re Toyota vehicles recall, owner of a 2004 Toyota Prius experienced sudden unintended acceleration. The consumer stated as he was driving, he approached a slower moving vehicle, but when he attempted to apply the brake, the vehicle instead accelerated. As he hit the brake harder, the vehicle accelerated even more. The consumer had to avoid an accident by crossing over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic. The consumer managed to avoid an accident and quickly moved back over to the correct side of the road. The consumer stated the gas pedal was not stuck as Toyota is claiming there is a quick fix and placing the blame on the accelerator pedal. Prior to the incident, the consumer stated as he was waiting in a line, with his foot firmly on the brake, the engine seemed to suddenly rev up and the vehicle lurched forward but did not move due to his foot being firmly on the brake. The consumer also stated on several occasions when he hit the brake the radio and air condition would come on. The dealer claimed there was nothing wrong and that the consumer must have hit the radio and climate control buttons on the steering wheel. The consumer believed that the braking system influences the electronics or computer and causes the acceleration of the vehicle.

- Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #100

Jan 152008


  • 90,000 miles
Multifunction touch screen display (mfd) malfunction disables the windshield defogger. One must wipe the windshield by hand. If the windshield fogs while driving on a narrow and winding road or busy highway, the driver and passengers are at high risk. There is a website that shows what the problem is and how to fix it (techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/mfd/). a multi-pin connector has a faulty pin. The soldering cracks over time resulting in a loose connection. Toyota does not provide an affordable solution. They offer to remove the two computer units from behind the mfd and replace them for approximately $3,000, rather than simply re-soldering the connector pin. I cannot afford to repair this, and Toyota has not offered any viable solutions. This affects all early type 2 priuses.

- Grass Valley, CA, USA

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